Justyce HR powers Cowgirls to victory

A couple days before the McNeese State softball season opener, senior Justyce McClain had a dream.

A dream that she would hit a home run in her first at-bat of the season. Turns out, she was wrong.

It was her second at-bat.

McClain went 3-for-4 with a home run, three runs scored and a run batted in. Pitcher Alex Flores pitched a complete game, one-hit shutout as the Cowgirls defeated visiting Samford 8-0 in five innings on the first day of the season and the Cowgirl Classic at Joe Miller Field on Thursday night.

“It’s good to see our kids come out with a ton of energy,” McNeese head coach James Landreneau said. “We talked about being able to strike first and add some sticks after that.”

The game started with an error from Flores that allowed Samford (0-1) to get the leadoff batter on base. But from there, she retired six consecutive batters. And after giving up a hit and walk in the top of the third inning, Flores retired the final seven batters of a game that finished early due to McNeese (1-0) winning by run rule. The junior from Lufkin, Texas, finished with five innings of shutout ball, one hit given up, one walk, and one strikeout.

“We went out there and my plan was just to attack the strike zone,” Flores said. “And just to get (Samford) to make weak contact and that’s what I did. And it was easy to pitch when my offense scored every inning.”

The Cowgirls scored three runs in the first and scored at least one run each inning. The first run came when Aubree Turbeville drew a bases-loaded walk. The next at-bat, Cori McCrary drove in two runs with a single up the middle for a 3-0 lead.

What arguably was the highlight of the game came in the bottom of the second inning when McClain — who led off the game with a bunt single — blasted a solo home run to right field to give the Cowgirls a 4-0 lead. It was her second career home run.

“Two nights ago, I had a dream about opening day,” McClain said. “It was actually the first at-bat (in my dream) but today it was my second. I’m still happy about that, though.”

From there, the Cowgirls were able to cruise, scoring one run in the third inning, two in the fourth, and one in fifth to end the game early. The game ended when Alexandria Saldivar drove in McClain with a single. Saldivar was the other Cowgirl to finish with three hits, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Six McNeese players picked up at least one hit, and Sara Geier was the third Cowgirl to pick up a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.

McNeese will be back in action tonight when they play two games. The first is at 5:30 p.m. against Samford and the nightcap against Arkansas at 8 p.m. Both games will be televised by Cox Sports Television.


Cowgirl Classic

Thursday

McNeese 8, Samford 0, 5 innings

Friday

Campbell vs. Lipscomb, 10 a.m.

Lipscomb vs. Samford, 12:30 p.m.

Arkansas vs. Campbell, 3 p.m.

Samford vs. McNeese, 5:30 p.m. (Cox Sports Television)

Arkansas vs. McNeese, 8 p.m. (CST)

Saturday

Samford vs. Campbell, 10 a.m.

Samford vs. Arkansas, 12:30 p.m. (CST)

Lipscomb vs. Arkansas, 3 p.m. (CST)

Campbell vs. McNeese, 5:30 p.m.

Lipscomb vs. McNeese, 8 p.m.

Sunday

Campbell vs. Arkansas, 9 a.m.

Lipscomb vs. McNeese, 11:30 a.m.